Senators urge Argentina to reassess bomb probe

Kirk, Gillibrand say investigation into 1994 bombing of AMIA sends "wrong signal" to Iran, warn it may cause another attack.

March 11, 2013 22:06
1 minute read.
Bombing of Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA), killing 85 people, in July 18, 1994

1994 Argentina bomb site 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/Files)


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US Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Monday called on the President of Argentina to review its decision to establish a joint "Truth Commission" with Iran to "re-investigate" the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires.

In a letter to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Senators claimed that overturning a legal process and indictment "dishonors the Argentine victims of the [Iranian] terrorist regime."

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The probe sends "exactly the wrong signal to Tehran’s leaders about responsibility for their actions," the Senators wrote, adding that they fear this "downgrading to a “commission” will lead to the dismissal of charges and the whitewashing of this heinous crime."

The US Senators warned that the "Truth Commission" may set a precedent for allowing the Iranian regime to evade responsibility for its crimes, warning that such a probe might even "encourage another devastating attack."

The bombing of the AMIA, which killed 85 people and injured approximately 300, was the largest attack on a Jewish target since World War II. Iran, which remains locked in a stand-off with world powers over its disputed nuclear program, denies links to the attack.

In 2007, Argentine authorities secured Interpol arrest warrants for five Iranians and a Lebanese over the attack in which an explosives-laden truck detonated outside the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) building.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi is among the Iranian officials sought by Argentina, which is home to Latin America's largest Jewish community.

Western and Israeli sources have voiced concerns that Argentina may have lost its interest in pursuing investigations of the 1994 attack, as well as the bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people two years earlier.

The Islamic Jihad Organization, believed to be linked to Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, claimed responsibility for the 1992 bombing.

Argentine, Israeli and US officials have long blamed the AMIA attack on Hezbollah guerrillas backed by Iran.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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